September 29, 2004

There's just no way to know...

I was reading Claudia's blog a little while ago, and she's knitting this awesome sweater to wear to Rhinebeck. (Actually, Claudia's really sneaky. She's being all casual about it. She hasn't come right out and said that she's making the sweater for that, it's more like "Oh my goodness...this just might be finished in time". Very cunning) Then I checked her sister Silvia's blog, and Silvia is knitting one too. They are having a little sisterly competition, both rushing to finish new sweaters for Rhinebeck. Isn't that nice? New sweaters for Rhinebeck.

Now you may not know this about me, but I have a tiny competitive streak. (Somewhere, my buddy Ken just read that and is laughing himself stupid. He's at his desk, snorting coffee and laughing maniacally while his co-workers stare at him and wonder if he's finally so far gone that he thinks that the geeky network administration he's working on is funny. Ken has been on the receiving end of my tiny competitive streak more than once. There was the "Who can make the smallest origami crane" episode, and a really spiritually unhealthy time with matching sweaters. I digress, but before we get back to the blog, I feel compelled to point out that I soundly thumped him.) This little flaw of mine is compounded by my need to not be left out of any fun that anybody is having without me.

This means that even though there is only 14 days before I get on a plane, I must have a new sweater. Must. Have. I know this is wrong. I know that I am a pathetic mess of a knitter, I know that I will likely have to warp the time space continuum to get a sweater before I leave, but all of this doesn't matter to me.
The sweater will be mine. (Before you suggest it, rest assured that I asked Silvia if mittens would be ok. She said no. She suggested that an exemption from the new sweater requirement could be purchased from her with chocolate, but I believe that she is lying to get chocolate. I would.)

So...a plan is afoot.

I'm thinking about an imaginary sweater. In my imagination, this sweater is a sort of fitted aran cardigan, with a zip front and saddle shoulders. I have a 90cm bust (36" ) and I think that a sweater 100cm around would do. (That's like...4" of ease) I have been through the countless books and magazines in this house (sort of quickly though, I can't waste valuable knitting time) and feel confident that the pattern I want does not exist. That's ok. I can fake it. The only thing standing between me and a Rhinebeck sweater that will keep all the other knitters from pointing, laughing and demanding chocolate while I try desperately to defend and redeem myself with a pair of Latvian Mittens is a deep concern that I may not have enough wool. I embarked on a little research.


First, a little swatch.
This actually isn't relevant, since swatches are known to be filthy little liars, still..I feel compelled to knit them, since every pattern book I've got says something like "to save time, take time to check tension". Since this knit needs to be fast, I thought I'd better do it. It hasn't helped so far, except to tell me what I already knew, which is that I'm getting about 19 sts to 10cm. That's good.

Next, I found two sweaters which are sort of like what I'm thinking about, and checked their gauge and yardage. Here's where it gets weird.

First....this one. Design #8 from Vogue Winter 00/01.


Calls for 1670 metres of yarn. I've got 1240. I was briefly discouraged, but I don't want a hood, I don't want it that long, and I'm frowning on the tassels. That should mean that I'm ok...right? Maybe.
I decide to take a second opinion, so...


This is design #2 from Patons book 500982. It's more like what I want, the length is better, it's more fitted...this sweater will probably be a closer indicator of what it will actually take. I check and (brace yourself) 2400 metres!

I'm being lied to. One of these patterns is lying. They take the same weight yarn, they have the same gauge, they are knit on the same size needles! How can they be that different? I'd just take the chance, but this is yarn from Newfoundland (long way to go for another skein...and they couldn't even mail it on my psychotic Rhinebeck schedule) and I can't bear the idea of busting myself for the next two weeks only to end up with a vest.
What I need now is a tie breaker. Ideas? Anybody got the yarn requirements for something similar hanging around?

Thrum-a-long, Day 3

When you think your mitten is almost tall enough, end ready to begin a third round (that's the first of the three plain knitted rounds)

next round - *K1, K2tog, repeat from * around.
knit one round, then
K1, K2tog around again.

The next round should be a thrum round again, work that round and then K2tog all the way around. Break the yarn, thread through the remaining stitches and fasten off.


Carefully pick out the waste yarn, picking up the "live" stitches as they are released.


When you have all the stitches picked up, divide on three needles. Your work looks like this:


Work around your first round, picking up two stitches, one at each "side" of the thumb. Continue to work the thumb, working the thrum pattern as established until the thumb is almost long enough. End ready to work a 5th round (the knit round before the thrums)
*K1, K2tog, repeat from * around.
Thrum the next round, and work the next round (round #2)
Last round: K2tog all the way around, break yarn, thread through remaining stitches, draw tight and fasten off.

Your work looks like this


Celebrate your finished thrummed mitten by turning it inside out and laughing until the neighbours think you're odd.


Make the second mitten the same.

Posted by Stephanie at September 29, 2004 2:45 PM